In this week’s Week in Review: TikTok’s pursuit of global domination continued at pace this week. The social video app announced at the start of this week that it now has over 1 billion monthly users. And it’s pressing hard to monetise that audience base, revealing a whole suit of advertiser tools, new ecommerce integrations, and even a move into NFTs.
The established platforms of course aren’t taking all of this lying down – and Mark Zuckerberg continues to push Reels, Instagram’s own TikTok-like feature, as Facebook’s answer. Reels this week moved across to the main Facebook platform, which will give it a nice reach boost, albeit likely with an older audience. The question on everyone’s lips however remains: Will Facebook commit to ending finsta?
Meanwhile on the CTV front, contextual targeting specialist IRIS.TV, one of the few to have brought their contextual ad tech over to the CTV space, expanded its Series B funding round. And the tech giants continue to bet on AVOD too, with Amazon launching its ad-supported streaming service IMDb TV in the UK. But it’s not all success stories in CTV – Apple revealed this week that its Apple TV+ platform has less than 20 million subscribers – despite the recent Emmy success of upbeat comedy Ted Lasso.
Instagram’s TikTok Competitor Reels Launches on Facebook
Reels have launched on Facebook. The feature, which is already in place on Facebook-owned Instagram, is being rolled out on the iOS and Android Facebook app in the US.
Reels are short video clips that allow users to build in audio, music and camera effects. Instagram Reels are largely seen to have been inspired by the success of TikTok. Reels on Facebook will appear on the news feed of users, or can be shared in Facebook Groups.
Facebook is also launching a bonus programme for its creators tied to Reels. “The Reels Play” bonus will pay eligible creators based on the performance of their reels, and will be available on both Facebook and Instagram. It follows a similar summer reels bonus initiative on Instagram.
IRIS.TV Secures Funding from ABS Capital
IRIS.TV, a specialist in contextual advertising, this week announced that it has secured funding from growth equity investor ABS Capital Partners, an expansion of its Series B funding round.
“IRIS.TV is positioned to capitalize on the tremendous growth in connected TV, enabling publishers to better monetize their existing content and advertisers to better identify and target their desired audiences,” said Mike Avon, managing general partner at ABS Capital. “We are excited to be a part of IRIS.TV’s rapid growth.”
IRIS.TV says the funding will be used to accelerate the growth of its video data platform and API tools.
TF1 and France Télévisions Sue Canal+
Canal+ faces legal action from French public service broadcaster France Télévisions and privately-held broadcaster TF1 over allegations that it posed “unfair and parasitic competition”, by airing films for free before it was legally allowed to.
Under French law, films which sold 100,000 tickets in their first four weeks may be broadcast on pay TV by Canal+ after eight months, and may then only be shown on free-to-air TV after 22 months. But Canal+ during the pandemic took the decision to make new feels free-to-air early, which the two broadcasters say harmed their own revenue streams. France Televisions is claiming €40 million in compensation, while TF1 is claiming €11.3 million.
The Week in Tech
Google Ads Scraps Last-Click Attribution as Default Conversion Model
Google has announced that it will no longer use last-click attribution as its default conversion model in Google Ads. Instead, the default attribution model will be what Google calls “data-driven attribution”, this is a method that uses machine learning to fill the gaps in observed data.
Australian Authority Says Google’s Dominance in Ad Tech Hurts Competition
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has accused Google of harming competition in the ad tech industry. In a report published by the ACCC, they accuse Google of causing “harms to publishers, advertisers and, ultimately, consumers”. The report estimates that more than 90 percent of ad impressions trade in 2020 passed through at least one Google service. It also argues that Google’s acquisitions of companies like DoubleClick and AdMob have helped entrench its dominance in the ad tech sector.
Facebook Commits $50 Million to “Building the Metaverse Responsibly”
Facebook has announced that it is committing $50 million to invest in “responsibly” building the metaverse. In a blog post, the social media giant said that it would work with “policymakers, experts and industry partners to bring [the metaverse] to life”. The metaverse can be something of a vague term, and the blog post sets out Facebook’s own definition of it as “a set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who aren’t in the same physical space as you.”
DoubleVerify Partners with TikTok on Measurement
DoubleVerify, a digital media measurement and analytics platform has partnered with the social media platform TikTok. The two companies say the partnership will improve ad measurement and help prevent ad fraud on TikTok. The partnership specifically covers the measurement of in-feed ad formats, but DoubleVerify and TikTok say they are working to expand their viewability offering to other formats.
Amplified Intelligence Raises $2.2 Million in Funding Round
Attention measurement platform Amplified Intelligence has raised $2.2 million in a post-seed funding round. The round was led by investment syndicate TEN13. The funding will be used to build the company’s team, including making the first key hires in the US and UK. The investment represents Amplified Intelligence’s first external capital, ahead of a planned Series A funding round in 2022.
CatapultX and Streann Partner on Programmatic Ads
OTT platform provider Streann and video monetisation platform CatapultX have partnered to give content providers a new way to monetize content through non-intrusive programmatic ads. Eurovision is utilising the two companies’ partnership to enhance its streaming offering.
ConsultMyApp Launches Smart Bidder
ConsultMyApp this week launched Smart Bidder, an independent Apple Search Ads (ASA) data source and bidding engine, which the company says was created in response to a growing demand among marketers for more accurate, up-to-date search activity and trend data within ASA. ConsultMyApp says key benefits of the product include organic and paid traffic synchronisation, streamlined reporting and unique keyword scoring data.
LoopMe Launches PurchaseLoop Measurement Solution
LoopMe, an outcomes-based platform has launched PurchaseLoop Measurement, a measurement solution designed to analyse real-time brand lift and campaign effectiveness. PurposeLoop has been designed for agencies, brands and publishers to measure the media effectiveness of their campaigns.
Hawk Partners with Anzu
Hawk, a cross-platform DSP provider, has partnered with Anzu, an in-game advertising platform. The partnership will expand Hawk’s omnichannel capabilities. It will allow advertisers using Hawk’s DSP to run banners and video ads across Anzu’s gaming inventory.
The Week in TV
Apple TV Plus Has Less Than 20 Million Subscribers, Hollywood Union Says
Apple told the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) that its Apple TV Plus service has less than 20 million subscribers in North America during contract negotiations, the union says. The negotiations took place over the contracts of employees like make-up artists and camera operators, who Apple say they can’t afford to pay more. Netflix has around 74 million subscribers in North America, and Disney+ has around 38 million.
Amazon’s AVOD Service IMDb TV Launches in the UK
Amazon this week launched its ad-supported VOD service IMDb TV in the UK. Initially, the company is launching the AVOD service as a carousel available on Amazon Prime Video, before rolling it out as a standalone app available on Fire devices. Membership to Amazon Prime will not be needed to access the standalone app, which will function as a free ad-supported service. Read the full story on VideoWeek.
Netflix Acquires Its First Gaming Studio
Netflix has acquired its first gaming studio, Night School Studio, as the streaming giant’s push into gaming picks up pace. Night School Studio produces what it calls “narrative-driven games”, and is best known for its game OXENFREE. The acquisition of Night School Studio is another sign of Netflix’s intent to expand its entertainment offerings into the gaming world. In a blog post announcing the news, Netflix game development VP Mike Verdu said the company is still in the “early stages” of creating its gaming experience. Read the full story on VideoWeek.
Germany Predicted to Overtake UK As Biggest European SVOD Market
Germany is forecast to overtake the UK as the largest European SVOD market in terms of subscriptions in 2025, according to Digital TV Research. The report predicts there will be 238 million SVOD subscriptions across 18 Western European countries by 2026, up from 167 million at the end of 2021. Germany will contribute the most of these additions, with 17 million new subscriptions predicted to come from the country.
NBCUniversal Warns YouTube TV Users Its Channels Could Go Dark
NBCUniversal has warned that its networks on YouTube TV may go dark due to a carriage deal disagreement. NBCU’s carriage deal with YouTube expires on the 30th September. Google said that if they do not reach an agreement with NBCU, there will be a $10 discount for YouTube TV subscribers.
Marketers on ViacomCBS Can Now Transact on VideoAmp Metrics
ViacomCBS have partnered with VideoAmp, and now marketers can use their metrics to transact against. The move is part of a larger diversification of the US TV measurement market, as broadcasters move away from using Nielsen as their go-to yardstick. COO of ad revenue at ViacomCBS John Halley said their vision was of a “multi-currency future”.
Première and Videofutur Launch a French VOD Platform
Magazine Première and Netgem’s Videofutur have announced that they are launching a streaming service dedicated to cinema. The VOD service will be available on a pay-as-you-go basis. The service will be known as Premiere Max by Videofutur, and will be launched at the end of October.
44 Percent of Americans Say Streaming Ads Have Influenced Their Purchases, Report Says
A report from Criteo has found that 44 percent of people in the US have had their purchases influenced by ads on streaming services. Among other findings, the report also found that 61 percent of Americans say subscription cost is their top consideration for using a video streaming service.
Fire Alarm Puts Channel 4 and Channel 5 Off-Air
A fire alarm at Red Bee television facilities put UK broadcasters Channel 4 and Channel 5 off-air last Saturday evening. The BBC playout had to be re-routed to Salford during the incident. Red Bee confirmed that the building was safely evacuated.
Discovery+ is Launching on Amazon Prime Video Channels in the UK
Discovery UK has announced that their SVOD service discovery+ is to be launching on Amazon Prime Video Channels in the UK. The discovery+ entertainment package will be available for £4.99/month for Amazon Prime subscribers, and the sport and entertainment package will be available for £6.99/month.
The Week in Publishing
IAC in Talks to Buy Meredith
Media holding company InterActiveCorp (IAC) is in talks to buy publishing giant Meredith Corp, according to the Wall Street Journal, with talks reportedly in advanced stages. The deal, which would add the likes of People, Money, and Entertainment Weekly to IAC’s roster, would be worth more than $2.5 billion according to reports.
TikTok Surpasses One Billion Monthly Users
TikTok announced this week that more than one billion people globally now visit TikTok every month (though it wasn’t clear from the announcement whether this includes TikTok’s Chinese sister app Douyin). This marks strong growth since last summer, when TikTok reported it had 700 million monthly users.
@tiktok_uk✨ 1 billion✨ people on TikTok! Thank you to our global community 🎉♬ original sound – TikTok UK
Instagram Kids Put on Hold
Facebook this week announced that it has paused its plans to develop an “Instagram experience” for under-13s, following widespread backlash against the idea. In a blog post Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram said he still believes building Instagram Kids is the right thing to do, as opposed to using age verification tech to try and keep youngsters off the main Instagram platform. But Mosseri said pausing the project will give Instagram time to work with “parents, experts, policymakers and regulators”.
CNN Denies Australians Access to Its Facebook Page Over Defamation Fears
CNN has said that it is blocking users in Australia from accessing its Facebook page, after a court in the country ruled that publishers can be held liable for defamatory comments made by third-parties on their posts. Facebook refused to help CNN disable comments in Australia. CNN is the first major publisher to pull their content in Australia after the country’s High Court made the ruling.
BBC, Reuters and Others Unite on Trusted News Campaign
Big name news publishers like the BBC, Bloomberg, Reuters and The Wall Street Journal have united to launch a video communicating the importance of trusted news. The video was launched by the World Media Group (WMG), an alliance of media organisations.
Snap Partners with WPP for AR Lab
Snap this week announced a partnership with agency group WPP to create The AR Lab, a partnership which will see WPP work with clients to help them develop AR campaigns within Snapchat – with a particular focus on ecommerce. The two will also collaborate on new products and technology.
LinkedIn Tests Paid Events
LinkedIn has begun testing paid events with a limited number of users, as an alternative revenue source. LinkedIn’s events tools cover both event management for in-person events, and virtual events hosted on LinkedIn itself. But previously, events organisers have not taken payment through LinkedIn itself.
YouTube Blocks All Anti-Vaccine Content
YouTube has announced that it is banning all anti-vaccine content, moving beyond blocking false information about it, which was its previous policy. YouTube has taken a tougher stance on disinformation recently, following criticism. Earlier in the week the platform banned RT’s German-language channels over disinformation.
The Week for Agencies
WPP Pays $19 Million Settlement Over Bribery Claims
WPP has agreed a settlement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to resolve charges of bribery levied against the holding group. WPP will pay $19 million as part of the settlement, which allows it to neither admit nor deny the SEC’s charges. The SEC accused WPP of paying bribes to Indian officials and other “illicit” schemes in China, Brazil, and Peru according to the FT.
IPG Debuts New Identity Offering ‘Kii’
Interpublic Group this week announced the launch of Kinesso Intelligent Identity, or ‘Kii’, an identity framework which it says will help clients optimise campaigns across walled gardens and the open web, powered by machine learning.
MediaCom Wins Global Media Duties for Bayer
WPP’s MediaCom has won Bayer’s global media account, worth around $800 million, following a review. MediaCom previously ran media duties for Bayer in 65 markets, but this win adds markets including Germany, China, and Russia, according to Adweek.
Total Global Ad Spend Grew 32 Percent in H1
Total global ad spend grew 32 percent year-on-year in H1, according to Interpublic Group-owned media agency Magna, with the majority of verticals predicted to have raised ad spend to above pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year (with auto, travel, restaurants and personal care the four exceptions). Magna now predicts total ad spend will be up 23 percent for the full year.
IPG Mediabrands Advises Clients to Shift Spend Away from Social Over Disinformation Risk
A report from IPG Mediabrands and Magna this week, which charted the spread of disinformation on social media and where brands are most at risk, advised clients to consider shifting spend away from social platforms. “While some platforms have policies on disinformation and misinformation, they are often vague or inconsistent, opening the door to bad actors exploiting platforms in a way that causes real-world harm to society and brands,” said Joshua Lowcock, global chief brand safety officer at Mediabrands-owned agency UM Worldwide.
Over 130 Businesses Commit to AdGreen’s Carbon Calculator
The AA’s environment-friendly ad initiative AdGreen this week launched its free carbon calculator, which helps brands and agencies measure the CO2 emissions produced by their ad campaigns. And AdGreen says over 130 businesses have preregistered to use the tool, including Unilever, Havas, and Adam&Eve.
Publicis Wins Ferrero Media Duties in China, UK, Italy and Ireland
Chocolate maker Ferrero has awarded media duties in China, the UK, Italy, and Ireland, worth a combined $350 million according to Adweek, to Publicis’ Starcom. Ferrero’s media account in Italy was previously held by GroupM’s Mindshare.
GroupM Forecasts 19 Percent UK TV Ad Revenue Growth After Surprisingly Strong September
GroupM has upped its forecast for UK TV ad revenues this year from 13 percent growth to 19 percent, as results over the past few months have surpassed expectations. While England’s success at the European Championships provided a foreseeable boost over the summer, GroupM says that September provided a particularly pleasant surprise. Revenues in September were up 28 percent year-on-year, driven by nearly all categories increasing spending. For a lot of categories, spending was even higher than September 2019, representing a complete recovery from the pandemic. Read the full story on VideoWeek.
Dentsu Launches New Gaming Division
Dentsu this week announced a new gaming division, Dentsu Gaming, which will draw on staff from both Dentsu’s Japanese and international businesses. DGame, its existing gaming marketing division in the UK and Ireland, will become part of Dentsu Gaming.
AB InBev Announces Global Media Review
Drinks maker AB InBev has announced it is conducting a global media agency review, with Dentsu, Publicis, and WPP invited to participate. Currently media duties are split between those three, with Dentsu holding the US, Europe, Africa and North America.
Hires of the Week
VidMob Make Senior EMEA Hires
VidMob has made two senior EMEA hires. Anthony Lamy has been appointed to the role of VP EMEA client partnerships, and Paul Carreo has been hired as director of EMEA Growth. Lamy was previously Facebook group director of global partnerships and Carreo was head of mid-market sales for EMEA at Google.
Canela Media Names Julieta LaMalfa CFO
Canela Media, a minority and female-owned digital media company dedicated to helping brands reach Hispanics, this week announced the appointment of Julieta LaMalfa as Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Prior to joining Canela Media, Julieta spent more than 6 years at Stout Risius Ross as an accounting and financial leader.
Denis Crushell Joins Precise TV
Denis Crushell, formerly chief revenue officer at Tubular Labs, as joined social contextual targeting specialist Precise TV as chief commercial officer.
This Week on VideoWeek
Crypto Marketing is Still a Minefield, read on VideoWeek
Venatus Receives Investment from Livingbridge in First Ever Funding Round, read on VideoWeek
VideoWeek Podcast #29: Lisa Utzschneider, listen on VideoWeek
Netflix Acquires Its First Gaming Studio, read on VideoWeek
GroupM Forecasts 19 Percent UK TV Ad Revenue Growth After Surprisingly Strong September, read on VideoWeek
Who Could Be in the Race to Buy Channel 4? read on VideoWeek
Ad of the Week
Reuters, The Source, VMLY&R